Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Quick Trip Home (Overdue)

I wrote this blog right after I got back from Japan. Shortly thereafter I began a very successful program of procrastination. Now my program has reached it's completion so it's time to post it.
Have a good read.

Not that the trip itself was that quick. It wasn't. But more on that later. What I mean is that I had less notice to fly home than I had to fly out. When I left it felt like short notice because I got notice on a Monday and left on a Thursday. This time I got notice on Thursday afternoon and flew Friday afternoon.

What would make a person leave Japan in such haste? I don't think I need to answer that. Narita Airport was in a state of exodus as thousands a day fled Tokyo. I'm bummed because my trip got cut short by two weeks, but I'm glad to be back at the same time. It is nice to be back with Chelsea and Jake.

One interesting thing about this trip is that I didn't take the normal Narita-Seattle direct flight that we usually get. I went through San Francisco. Again, this has it's pros and cons. I had a three hour layover there and I had to collect my suitcase and go through customs and security. That was a pain. Next to the confusion at Narita it seemed calm. Unfortunately, the connecting flight between San Francisco and Seattle was delayed so due to the layover, extra flight, and delay, I got home seven hours later than most of the shipyard folks. This was OK, though because it meant that my lovely wife could come get me from the airport. It made that drive home much more pleasant. Another pro is that I got to ride a 747-400 to San Francisco. I've done a little international travel here and there, but I hadn't ever been on one of these before. They are big old monsters.

The flight was pretty nice. Me and another big guy like myself were sharing a row of three seats, of which the middle seat was empty. Perfect. The view was really nice too. The moon was out as well as many stars. As we crossed the pacific the sky above was clear and the sea was hidden by the clouds. We only had about four hours of night. I managed to sleep about two hours during the night. They served dinner about 9:00 pm Yokosuka time. I was excited about it because I hadn't had anything to eat since about 7:00 am.

When we got off the plane in San Francisco we were greeted in the jetway by about eight homeland security officers. Not surprisingly, one of them was trying to be inconspicuous about the geiger counter he had. They were just standing there while people walked by. That was the second sign of concern about the nuclear accident. Right after we took off the pilot came on the intercom to assure everyone that the air traffic controllers had routed us well away from Fukushima. At that altitude we were all getting more exposure to radiation from the sun than from any earthbound source, nuclear disaster notwithstanding (as is the case with any airplane flight).

In San Francisco it was raining buckets. I'm not talking about that nice drizzly northwest rain either. While I was in a store in the airport I could hear a national weather service alerts on the radio. It was bad enough that our flight to Seattle was delayed almost two hours. That wouldn't have been a big deal except that the SF airport only gave you one hour of wi-fi for free! What was I supposed to do with the rest of the time. I'm just kidding. It gave me time to have a little lunch: $11.50 for a wrapped up egg salad sandwich and a diet coke seemed pretty reasonable.

The flight to Seattle was uneventful. Thankfully. I finally got there around 5 pm (about 7 hours later than my colleagues that got the direct flight) which was perfect because it meant that Chelsea was able to come get me after work. That was nice because I'd much rather ride home with her than cram myself onto the Airporter. Also, we stopped in Tacoma for some wings at Wingers. It was a good time.

At home Jake was glad to see me. I was glad to see him too. It's good to be home safe again.


At 6:26 PM, Blogger Miriam said...

We're all glad you're home safe.


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